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Florida Child Custody & Florida Child Support

UPDATED: March 2, 2020

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Issues involving the raising of children after a divorce provide some of the most difficult and contentious problems encountered during the divorce process. Florida courts prefer that parents work out the details of raising children after a divorce because, in the long run, it is in the best interests of the child or children. If the parents cannot agree, the court will get involved and will always look to the best interests of the child or children in deciding issues of custody, visitation and support. Following are the laws governing Florida child custody and support.

Florida Child Custody:

Florida courts determine all custody issues as a function of the best interests of the children. It will consider all relevant facts and give the father and mother the same consideration regardless of the child’s sex or age. The factors the court will consider include:
  • Love, affection, and other emotional ties,
  • Capacity and disposition of a parent to give the child love, affection, and guidance,
  • Capacity and disposition of a parent to provide for the child’s material needs,
  • Length of time the child has lived in an environment,
  • The permanence of the existing or proposed custodial home,
  • Moral fitness,
  • Mental and physical health,
  • Home, school, and community record of the child,
  • Reasonable preference of the child,
  • Willingness of a parent to encourage a continuing relationship with the proposed noncustodial parent,
  • Domestic violence,
  • Any other relevant factors.

Florida Child Support:

Child support in Florida is determined in accordance with the Income Shares Model for child support, where each parent's income is considered in relative proportion. The support amounts calculated from each parent then help decide which parent must pay the other in order to maintain the correct proportion and provide for the needs of the child.

These guidelines are not always followed, but a decision to follow a different standard will require supportive evidence showing 1) all the factors that affect the parties financial obligations differently, and 2) how applying a standard other than the Income Shares Model will more effectively preserve the best interests of the child.

The factors that can be considered here are numerous, and include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Pre-dissolution or pre-separation standard of living that the child enjoyed
  2. Monetary support provided for other family members
  3. Debts arising during the marriage for the child's benefit
  4. Imputed income to a party who is voluntarily unemployed for the child's benefit
  5. Court-ordered payments for health care and education for the child’s benefit
  6. Children's independent financial resources, if any
  7. Education, training, and/or career opportunities of the parties and/or ability to pursue those things

As you can see, there are many laws and requirements concerning children in the event of a divorce or separation. You should consult a lawyer when trying to sort through your rights and responsibilities regarding childrearing after a divorce. S/he knows the law inside and out, and will serve as your advocate and/or counsel when negotiating a parenting agreement. You can find a skilled lawyer at:

Florida Divorce/Child Support/Child Custody Lawyers:
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